I am delighted with the rapid progress the ship is making toward becoming an operational aircraft carrier. The success of the rotary wing flying trials in the Atlantic with Merlin and Chinook is another important milestone on that journey

Captain Jerry Kyd RN, HMS Queen Elizabeth's Commanding Officer

HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed to the Atlantic, where most of the trials flying took place. This is because of the greater range of weather conditions available there. The trials analysts will look at things like the deck motion, wind monitors on both the ship and the aircraft and analyse the points at which the aircraft reached their limits.

Reaching that stage can be dangerous, as Royal Navy test pilot and Detachment Commander for the trials team, Commander Matt Grindon explains:

"We've been learning about the wind patterns on deck, this is a new design of ship and the way wind moves across the deck and affects flying is something that we've focused on in these trials.

"Whilst turbulence is normal, one of my pilots has described it as the 'Hand of God' grabbing you and pushing you down onto the ship, which obviously requires a big power demand to stop the aircraft descending, so that's given us some interesting insight. Nonetheless we have been able to clear a much wider envelope than we expected. We've been challenged, but that's exactly what these trials are for. ".

HMS Queen Elizabeth's Commander Air, Cdr Mark Deller adds: "We have been operating on the likely limits that this ship will operate to and therefore have seen most of the weather conditions that we are likely to be exposed to. The ship has held up well, the deck is good and consequently the aircraft have behaved themselves, so all good news."

Speaking as the ship sailed into Portsmouth, HMS Queen Elizabeth's Commanding Officer, Captain Jerry Kyd said:

"I am delighted with the rapid progress the ship is making toward becoming an operational aircraft carrier. The success of the rotary wing flying trials in the Atlantic with Merlin and Chinook is another important milestone on that journey. We are rapidly approaching our deployment to the United States in the summer when we will see the first F-35B Lightning aircraft land on Queen Elizabeth's deck.“

"The ship is performing well and the marriage at sea of the Lightning and our carrier in a few months time will be a hugely symbolic event putting on notice that the UK is on the cusp of returning to fixed wing carrier operations at sea and a return to serious maritime power projection".

Naval Airman Aircraft Handler

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